Two weeks after Zuccotti Park, the spiritual home of the Occupy movement, was raided by New York police, protesters in several cities are staying put in their encampments despite city threats of eviction.
In D.C., Occupy protesters have interpreted a new notice from the National Park Service as proof that their encampment’s days, too, are numbered, but they say they aren’t going anywhere.
The memo, released Nov. 23, states that U.S. Park Police officers will be increasing patrol activities at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza “due to increasing problems of public urination and defecation, illegal drug and alcohol use, and assaults.” The memo also reminds protesters that camping is prohibited in both parks.
While the agency says the memo was not intended to be a threat of eviction, members of the Freedom Plaza protest are interpreting it that way, and have issued a response denying accusations of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and other issues.
The protesters have a reminder for the Park Service, too: “Our actions are protected by the First Amendment. You recognize that we are exercising our First Amendment rights to Freedom of Speech and our Right to Assemble to Redress Grievances. The language of the Amendment could not be clearer.”
Occupy Wall Street, whose tents have still not been allowed back in Zuccotti Park, issued a statement about the evictions Tuesday: